Being a young Mum and the judgements you face

Me and Oliver in the hospital.
Me and Oliver in the hospital.

 

People have this warped perception that if you are a young Mum, then you must be:

 

1.On benefits
2.Dealing with the repercussions of a one night stand or bad choice of boyfriend
3.A terrible mother and human being

 

I was 23 when I found out I was pregnant with my son and had only just turned 24 when I gave birth to him. The reaction to my age at baby groups is often mixed, some are shocked that I am so young and spend a majority of their time avoiding me or ‘explaining’ things to me and some think that by 24, the chances are I can probably look after myself and therefore a baby, so speak to me like an actual human being.

 

But this sort of avoidance isn’t even the most shocking behaviour I have encountered since entering parenthood.

 

In the summer when Oliver was about three months old, there was a really beautiful day, so I decided to take Oliver for a walk. By lunchtime it was extremely hot and so I tried to purchase a cup of tea and a scone in a café, so I could feed him out of the sun. I was turned away and so I ended up feeding him in the scorching sunshine on a bench in the street. I’ve never been so humiliated and angry all in one go.

 

Another incident came when I needed a dentist appointment and due to the ridiculous wait for the NHS dentist, I went private. It was during the day and my partner was at work, so I took Oliver with me. In the waiting room a man looked me up and down and tutted. Actually tutted at me for being a mother to a contented, happy, beautiful baby.

 

After that I took Oliver into the nearest city to get some things and had a couple look at me as I walked past with the pram and comment on how much of a shame it is, that a pretty girl like me has ruined her life. Excuse me? First of my looks shouldn’t even come into the equation and secondly, you know nothing about my life, in order to comment on how this gorgeous little boy has ruined it. Which I would like to point out, he hasn’t. He has enriched it more than even I could have comprehended.

 

I am a grown women, who has lived by herself and fended for herself since the age of 17. I am educated to degree level. I have travelled. I am in a loving and good relationship with my son’s father. We live in a house we own. We live on money we earn and save and not money given to us by the general public. I am hardworking, I am a good person and most importantly, I am a good Mum. I have not ruined my life by having a child, I have become a better person because of it.

 

So moving on from my own situation, I will address the generalisations of other young Mums.

 

First of all, if somebody is on benefits, the chances are that they need them. I knew a girl who was with her boyfriend for two years when they planned their first child. He then abandoned her and their son. She was on benefits for a while to find her feet. She is now training to be a nurse and has created a charity for parents who have been abandoned by their spouses. So when you look a person up and down because of their financial situation, have a think about whether this person will one day save your life, teach your children or possibly be your defence during a court case.

 

Second of all, whether you are with someone 5 months or 10 years, having a baby is tough on any relationship. There are marriages that fall apart after having children and yet couples who have been together two minutes when they fall pregnant, make it through the hardships. One couple I know found out they were having a baby when they were 20 years old and had only been together for four months. They have now been together for 6 years, have excellent, high paying jobs – and get this – their daughter is one of the best behaved and most polite children I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

 

Finally, being a young Mum doesn’t make someone a bad person or terrible mother. Are there not people in their 30’s or 40’s who abandon and beat their children? Oh right, that’s it… there is. Being a good person or good parent is not based on what age you are. So again, that stigma of age being related to what type of person or indeed parent somebody is, is absurd.

 

So when you next see a young Mum, think before you judge.

 

Being a young first time Mum doesn't make someone a bad Mum.
Being a young first time Mum doesn’t make someone a bad Mum.

 

Do you have any preconceptions of young Mums or have you been judged for being a young Mum? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook.

8 thoughts

  1. Wow! You were 24? I really wouldn’t have considered that to be young, so I’m surprised and sad that you’ve received so much flak. If anything, haven’t children before your thirties is so much easier on the body than later in life.

    I was a week or so shy of 40 when my lad arrived and I felt too old for the job, even as the father; my wife was 32. My Dad was almost 42 when I was born and 47 when my little brother arrived and he died last than 20 years later. The earlier the birth, the more grandparents around and for longer. We’ve another little one due next March, when my wife will be almost 36, and I worry that we won’t be around for long enough for her.

    Anyway, as you say, the most important thing is the care you can give, not the number of winters you’ve seen.

    1. Thank you reading and commenting.I didn’t think it was particularly young either, but some people really considered me to be less able as a mother, which I found absolutely absurd and rather insulting. The judgments have become considerably less as time has gone on though, not sure if that is because I look a lot older now I haven’t slept properly in a couple of years though.

  2. I can really relate to this. I was just 22 when my boy was born and I used to get so many looks and people assuming he was an accident. All the older mums at baby group kind of stuck together, I felt so alone. Luckily I found some mums who were willing to be friends with the younger mum, not that age has anything to do with how good a mum/person you are. I can’t believe you had to feed your baby outside on a bench, the staff in the cafe should be ashamed. Great post x

  3. This blog is fantastic! Stumbled across it as a friend on Facebook has shared your ‘3am mummy’ post, and I fell in love.
    My little girl is 10 months and I could cry when she wakes me up at 3am, I’ve never stopped to think she might just miss me!
    The people judging you need a swift hand to the back of the head, idiots.
    Keep doing what you’re doing sugar, grand job from what I can tell xx

  4. I was 20 when I had my first with my boyfriend of 3 years. We are now married with 2 children and very happy. I felt this too when I first had my son but I was lucky to find a great group of mums (mostly quite a bit older than me!) And they have never questioned my age. But in the early days I felt very judged, before we got engaged I used to wear a ring on my finger when we were out and lie about my age. I guess I was lucky to not have comments but felt like I was being stared at a lot. Doesn’t help that I look very young too, approaching 30 and still getting ID’d!

  5. I am surprised people treated you so harshly as I wouldn’t consider 24 to be that young – I am 26 although I think I look older. I am usually one of the youngest parents in baby groups and things I think. My partner is a lot older though. I’m sorry you’ve had such bad experiences, it must have been so hard for you. My mother in law was 18 when she had my husband, and both my sister and sister in law had their first children at 20 (all of them were planned). Age has no bearing at all on how good you are as a parent and I hate that people feel it’s acceptable to judge anybody they don’t know. Thank you for sharing your experiences – I really hope people think twice before judging. #fortheloveofBLOG

    1. I think it is more the fact that I’m really tiny, so people assume that I’m younger and a lot of people in my area have children in their 30’s and 40’s, which can also be a contributing factor. I completely agree, age has no correlation to parenting ability. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment🙂

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